I taught yoga for a little while before I became a 200-hour certified yoga teacher. Looking back, I realize how one-dimensional my understanding of yoga was. I was in love with the “ahhh” moment at the end of a Vinyasa class. But I didn’t understand how or why it happened. I’ve always loved back bending, but I didn’t know that back bending is a heart-opening practice that requires vulnerability and openness.
I realize that not everybody has the ability to become a yoga teacher. Yet, I wanted to share some of the gems of knowledge that my 200-hour Teacher Training has given me.
- The physical practice of yoga, or asana, was originally practiced by males.
Many of the yoga poses you see and practice have been altered or changed. Yoga was originally practiced by 12-year-old boys. Poses are constantly changing and adapting to different bodies. As we learn more and more about the body, we continue to learn more about what is best for it.
- The purpose of yoga is not necessarily to go as deep as you can into the poses.
Contrary to Instagram, yoga is about being the best you, not the most flexible person in the world. Flexibility is a very small portion of the practice of yoga and is actually not a pre-requisite to do yoga. Yoga is about going inward, quieting the mind, and experiencing peace.
- Most people don’t understand Chatarunga Dandasana
This is the yogi push up. Again, this pose doesn’t mean that you have to go all the way down and show off your killer triceps.
- Child’s Pose is actually a pose and not just a “resting position”
I know, I was shocked too. Child’s pose is a forward bend. It opens up your third eye and releases tension in the forehead. It helps you go inward, reflecting on the self. It’s a brilliant pose.
- Yoga is much more than stretching and poses, but also constitutes of moral principles and a way of living.
The Yamas and the Niyamas are the moral precepts that yogis follow. They consist of observances that help us to interact with others and interact with ourselves.
- The intention of the physical practice of yoga is to go inward and quiet the mind.
This is the purpose of yoga. The purpose is not to fly, do a handstand, or touch your toes. The purpose is to quiet your mind—in order to help you live a better life the other 99% of the time that you aren’t on the mat.
- There is a modification for almost every pose imaginable.
There is a way to modify every pose! Yoga is accessible to everyone. You can do it, I promise!
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
One of my favorite quotes from one of my training teachers. Just because you can touch your toes, doesn’t mean you should. Finding what’s best for your body at different times is part of the practice.
- Backbends help open your heart- literally. They help breathing.
After a full day of backbends, I found myself extremely emotional. It turns out this isn’t abnormal, at all. Backbends are heart-opening poses, quite literally. They open up the lungs and provide you with more room to breathe.
- Breathing during yoga is key!
I used to tune out teachers when they told me to inhale and exhale. I didn’t see the importance. After completing my teacher training, I realize that breathing is everything. It helps you stay calm, go deeper into poses, and calm the parasympathetic nervous system. It is everything.